Impossible Foods, a company that makes meat from plants, has a mission to eliminate the need for animals in the food system by 2035. Its flagship product’s resemblance meat, right down to the taste and ‘beeflike blood’ have made it a darling among high-end restaurants and attracted almost $400m investments.
The first product, the Impossible Burger, has tackled a common issue with traditional veggie burgers made from combinations of soy, beans and lentils: a dry, crumbly texture that fails to closely resemble beef. The Impossible Burger has a pink color, juicy dribbles, smoky flavor and the ability to get characteristically charred crust that previously only a grilled beef burger could offer. It has rapidly gained popularity and is now available at more than 5,000 locations in the US, Hong Kong and Macau. It also got FDA approved despite existing concerns.
The Impossible burger also has a price problem. It is more expensive than beef. However, for consumers who are on the hunt for a truly meat-like replacement the higher price seems to be worth it. Earlier in 2019 the company was having trouble keeping up with demand from the restaurant chains, smaller restaurants and college campuses that buy the burgers. During June 2019 press reports declared demand to be so high would be customers were finding it difficult to locate an outlet where the fake meat could be purchased. From its inception, Impossible Foods got prominent investors’ attention.
Among the big names behind a $2bn valuation include Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Viking Global Investors, UBS and others. Despite the fact that the idea of a lab-grown burger may be unsettling to some, the rapid growth in demand for Impossible Burgers indicates that there is a huge potential in the meat substitutes market. Products such as those from Impossible Foods have the potential to impact a few pertinent things: human health, environmental sustainability and global resources. The only remaining question is if engineered foods are safe for human consumption on a long term basis as no studies exist to prove it and the FDA approval process does not seem very trustworthy.